If you have yet to hit the theaters to see the highly anticipated and hilarious comedy “Meet the Fockers,” you’re denying yourself quality entertainment. The film is the sequel to the 2000 blockbuster “Meet the Parents.” Although it has been four years since the introduction of the laughable and lovable characters known as the Fockers and the Byrnes, this film proves the wait was definitely worthwhile.
In the sequel, directed by Jay Roach, Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) and Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo) are finally ready to tie the knot, but not before Pam’s parents, the very critical Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) and delightful Dina Byrnes (Blythe Danner), meet Greg’s wacky parents, Bernie Focker (Dustin Hoffman) and Roz Focker (Barbara Streisand). As expected, during their weekend stay at the Focker home, more things go wrong than right.
Like in the first film, the chemistry between Stiller and De Niro is remarkable. But what makes this sequel funnier and stronger than the previous film are new characters Bernie and Roz Focker. Bernie is a highly eccentric and goofy ex-lawyer who is not at all embarrassed to have a shrine dedicated to his son Greg’s third and eighth-place accomplishments – an idea that Jack finds ridiculous. Jack just cannot understand why a father would celebrate mediocrity while Bernie cannot understand how his son’s father-in-law can be so uptight and competitive.
These differences, among others, cause them to clash with one another. For instance, a hilarious scene unfolds when the two fathers engage in what looks like a harmless game of touch football. But with the crazy antics of the characters in “Meet the Fockers,” even the smallest activity can turn into catastrophe, which makes this film even more entertaining. Bernie tries to be more competitive so he can measure up to Jack’s competitive nature, but he almost badly injures him in the process when tackling him like a bull darting into a flimsy piece of cloth. Frustrated, Jack says, “I’m not so sure this wedding is such a good idea. I don’t like what I’m seeing from these Fockers.”
Roz, Streisand’s character, doesn’t make Jack any happier. Greg’s rambunctious and sexually free mother fails to conceal her job as a sex therapist from the Byrnes, which leads to lots of laughs when Jack finds out. Both Streisand and Hoffman bring charisma and quirkiness to their roles. I expected Streisand to be funny, but I always thought of Hoffman as the serious type. In this role, however, his comical antics even overshadow Stiller, who is known for his comedic performances.
What is interesting about this film is that there are minor characters who elicit laughs as well. Surprisingly, these characters are not adults. One is a sexually charged dog and the other is a one-year-old prodigy who is too observant for his own good. The dog is the Focker family’s pet who, in a memorable and humorous scene, is flushed down the toilet by Jinx, the Byrnes’ well-trained family feline. The one-year-old is Little Jack (Spencer and Bradley Pickren), who steals scenes from not only Stiller, but the great De Niro as well. The cute and charismatic Little Jack doesn’t hesitate to repeatedly reiterate his first words to his Grandpa Jack. In this comedy, it is no surprise that the toddler’s first word is ***hole, a profanity he mistakenly picks up from Greg Focker.
The ensemble cast of Stiller, De Niro, Hoffman and Streisand is extraordinary. The chemistry between these characters is mesmerizing. This film is brilliant and outrageously funny. I know that this phrase is extremely overused, but “Meet the Fockers” is a must-see movie.